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First Drive

First Drive: Audi Q3 Sportback

Audi Q3 Sportback 2.0 TDI 150 S Line S-tronic
The story: Audi has filled a niche within a niche with the launch of the Q3 Sportback, a sportier-looking version of its Q3 small crossover.
Category:Premium small crossover
Key rival:BMW X2
Efficiency:47.1 mpg
On sale:Now

Explaining the new Q3 Sportback, Audi says its latest model “combines familiar versatility with elegant coupe-inspired lines”. Which basically means this is a version of the Q3 with a more sloping roofline to give it a sportier look. And to give Audi yet another model in a line-up that now numbers 51 distinct vehicles, compared with just 17 in 2001.

Audi’s Q models, running from the Q2 to the Q8, account for more than a third of the brand’s sales, and the Q3 is currently a quarter of those, something the manufacturer is looking to consolidate with its newest addition. The Sportback is 16mm longer and has roofline that’s 49mm lower than the regular Q3’s, though both have the same 530-litre boot that’s bigger than those of its key rivals, the BMW X2 and Range Rover Evoque. That sloping roofline doesn’t have too big an impact on rear headroom, which is still reasonable for a fully grown adult. But it is a noticeably different car, looking smaller and more rounded that the Q3.First Drive-November 2019-Audi Q3 Sportback-image 5

The Sportback costs an additional £1150 over the Q3, and comes in four trim levels – Sport, S Line, Edition 1 and the top Vorsprung. To start with, the engine line-up comprises just one petrol, a 230hp petrol badged 45 TFSI, and one diesel, a 150hp diesel badged 35 TDI. Soon to follow will be 190hp diesel and 150hp petrol engines, the latter with 48-volt mild hybrid tech. Front- or four-wheel drive traction is available depending on powertrain.

Unsurprisingly, the Q3 drives pretty much like a Q3 always has. The ride is on the firm side, but otherwise the Sportback is a pleasant and refined experience.

The interior is predictably classy, and features the latest 10.1-inch central touchscreen, which is clear and user-friendly.

The only major drawback of the new Q3 Sportback is that emissions of 127g/km are significantly higher than those of the equivalent BMW X2, although a higher residual value for the Audi means it’s cheaper to run overall, despite having a slightly higher P11D price. The Sportback will cost an extra 1.2p per mile, but for drivers wanting the SUV driving position with a bit more style, it could entice.


Paul Barker

The verdict

Certainly a niche addition, but the development of the coupe-SUV combination continues, with Audi adding to its broad portfolio to meet seemingly every requirement.